June 6, 2011
HOUSTON -Rice's Anthony Rendon was selected with the sixth pick overall by the Washington Nationals in the 2011 Major League Baseball amateur draft on Monday (June 6).
Rendon is the 18th Rice player to be taken in the first round of the MLB Draft. The All-American and 2010 National Player of the Year is the first Owl to be selected in the first round since Bryan Price was a supplemental first-rounder in 2008. Rendon is the program's highest pick since the pitching duo of Philip Humber and Jeff Niemann went back-to-back with the third and fourth overall picks, respectively in 2004.
A national semifinalist for both the Howser Trophy (as the nation's top collegiate player) and Golden Spikes Award (as nation's top amateur), Rendon had another sensational year in 2011. The Houston native from nearby Lamar High School was recently named a second team All-America selection by Collegiate Baseball Magazine). A first team All-Conference USA honoree for the third time in as many years, the designated hitter/third baseman led the Owls in hitting (.3271), runs scored (58), slugging percentage (.523), walks (80), on-base percentage (.520) and steals (13). Not only did he share the team lead in home runs (6) and doubles (20), Rendon batted .374 with runners on base, .311 with runners in scoring position and .429 with the bases loaded. He hit .357 (10-of-28) in the Owls' 2011 postseason run, including a .375 clip with three doubles and a homer in four C-USA Tournament games to help Rice claim the championship title.
Under the daily practice regimen of Rice head coach Wayne Graham, Rendon vaulted from being a 27th round draft pick out of high school by the Atlanta Braves to the No. 6 pick overall by the end of his junior year. He also quickly ascended to the upper echelon of the Rice record books. In just three seasons Rendon moved to third in career home runs (52), fifth on the school's all-time list for batting average (.371), sixth in both runs scored (201) & RBI (194), and fourth in both total bases (463) & slugging (.679).
As the 2010 National Player of the Year he remained one of the most-respected sluggers in the nation. Opposing teams certainly did their best to work around him in 2011. Rendon led all Division I players with an eye-opening 80 walks. Where his best hitting streak of the year was eight games, he also had an eight-game streak of drawing at least one walk and at one point had registered a walk in 16-of-17 consecutive games. The junior slugger was walked four times in a single game three different times, and he was also issued a total of 22 intentional free passes (a total higher than some Division I players had for their entire season). This year there were two occasions where he was intentionally-walked when first base was already occupied.
The Rice baseball team finished its 2011 season with a 42-21 record. The program posted its 17th-straight season of 40 or more wins and 17th-straight year to reach an NCAA Regional. The Owls were league champions for a 16th-straight year, winning both the 2011 Conference USA Tournament title and C-USA regular season co-championship.
Rice Baseball's First Round MLB Draft Picks
1967 -- Ronald Henson (Cleveland Indians, June-secondary phase)
1976 -- Mike Macha (Atlanta Braves, Jan.-secondary phase)
1981 -- Matt Williams (Toronto Blue Jays, fifth pick overall)
1983 -- David Hinnrichs (Philadelphia Phillies, June-secondary phase)
1984 -- Norm Charlton (Montreal Expos, 28th pick overall)
1995 -- Jose Cruz Jr. (Seattle Mariners; third pick overall)
1997 -- Matt Anderson (Detroit Tigers; first pick overall);
Lance Berkman (Houston Astros; 16th pick overall)
1998 -- Bubba Crosby (Los Angeles Dodgers; 23rd pick overall)
2001 -- Kenny Baugh (Detroit Tigers; 11th pick overall);
Jon Skaggs (New York Yankees; 42nd pick overall)
2003 -- David Aardsma (San Francisco Giants; 22nd pick overall)
2004 -- Philip Humber (New York Mets; 3rd pick overall);
Jeff Niemann (Tampa Bay Devil Rays; 4th pick overall);
Wade Townsend (Baltimore Orioles; 8th pick overall)
2005 -- Wade Townsend (Tampa Bay Devil Rays; 8th pick overall)
2007 -- Joe Savery (Philadelphia Phillies; 19th pick overall)
2008 -- Bryan Price (Boston Red Sox; 45th pick overall)
2011 -- Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals; 6th pick overall)